FERNDALE — Randy Hayward has been collecting vintage vehicles for more than 20 years, and his impressive collection includes 10 vintage motorcycles and two cars.
Hayward will be taking four of his bikes back to the 65th annual Detroit Autorama when it returns to Cobo Center Feb. 24-26.
The 62-year-old Hayward, a Ferndale resident, said most of his bikes are pre-1930, with the four he’s taking to the show being a 1926 Harley-Davidson Single B model, a custom 1929 Harley-Davidson V-Twin Flathead D model, a custom 1976 Harley-Davidson chopper with an Ironhead engine, and a restored 1929 Harley-Davidson V-Twin Flathead DL model.
“Many of these bikes have this unbelievable artistic flair to them,” he said. “I started with one, and then I realized I could get a whole lot more in the storage space than a couple cars. But it was absolutely the attraction of having this vintage motorcycle that somebody actually had to hand-build.”
Autorama will feature more than 800 different kinds of vehicles, as well as showing off 20 famous cars, including the Batmobile and the Little Deuce Coupe, in honor of the show’s 65th anniversary.
“It’s quite a milestone,” Autorama spokeswoman Linda Ashley said. “For that we have put together a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of some of the most famous cars that have ever been to Autorama.”
While he said his favorite bike is often whatever one he is sitting on, Hayward said the restored 1929 Harley-Davidson V-Twin Flathead DL is his favorite, as it was the first one he ever bought. He saw the bike for the first time at a show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, and after leaving, he said he kept thinking about it and, after some time, was able to make a deal and purchase it.
“Just looking at the bike was — it was a piece of rolling art.’ he said.
Hayward said he called everyone to let them know he had not only purchased his first Harley, but his first vintage motorcycle.
“And usually when it’s not in storage, I’ll put it in the living room,” he said. “I treat it like a Picasso sometimes. So if I’m having a special event, then I’ll take it and put it right next to my fireplace.
“I got the coolest wife on the planet, because she lets me bring it in the house.”
The show also will feature the Motor City Mavens 2017 Auto Art Panel Jam and Charity Auction that will benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind; Autorama Student Career Day, where more than 3,000 high school and trade school automotive students from all around Michigan will hear presentations about career opportunities; and the Ridler’s Ball, which will kick off the car show on Feb. 24 at Cobo.
Highlighting the festivities will be the Hazzard County Stunt Show on opening night, in which the General Lee from the television show “The Dukes of Hazzard” will be flying through the air performing stunts with stars from the show in attendance — Catherine Bach and Tom Wopat.
“Everybody loved ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’” Ashley said. “(It’ll be) fun having them there and the cars.”
Other special appearances at the show include WWE wrestler A.J. Styles, Rick Harrison from “Pawn Stars,” and Skai Jackson from the Disney Channel shows “Jessie” and “Bunk’d.”
At the end of the show will be the presentation of the Ridler Award, which the show calls the “most coveted award in hot rodding.” It has been awarded for the past 55 years to the vehicle deemed the most outstanding custom car. Ashley said people come from all over the country to compete for the Ridler.
“They are just not to be believed,” she said. “They are so out there. The workmanship is really something.”
Hayward has taken motocycles to the show for the past three years, and for him to take his bikes to the show, especially his first motorcycle, is special.
“Each time I show it, it’s just an unbelievable response, because it draws the same attraction that I had when I saw the bike.” he said.
For more information about the show, visit www.autorama.com/attend/detroit.
Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik contributed to this report.